Merrimack College incoming freshman Austin Plevy left the team on Friday, and according to sources, has no plans on returning.
Plevy reported to the Brooks Bandits of the Alberta Junior Hockey League, where he finished the 2013-14 season after being traded from the Chilliwack Chiefs in the British Columbia Hockey League.
According to several sources, Plevy left on his own this past Friday, without informing officials from the hockey program. He was in the lineup for the Bandits on Saturday night against the Okotoks Oilers, and did not list Merrimack as his committed school on the team’s line chart.
Plevy had signed a National Letter of Intent, and was already enrolled in classes at Merrimack for the upcoming fall semester. Merrimack’s freshman players also took classes this past summer.
The Mack Report reached out to Merrimack head coach Mark Dennehy, who is on a recruiting trip in Alberta, but he requested to reserve comment until he could learn more about the situation.
It’s a rather unprecedented scenario. One source believes that Plevy could be treated as a transfer student.
But Plevy has a signed Letter of Intent, and another source pointed to the Letter of Intent rules, which state that a player must enroll and complete one academic year at the school where he signs the Letter of Intent.
According to Letter of Intent rules, the penalty for not doing so is that the player would lose one year of competition in all sports and must serve one year in residence at the next NLI institution.
Plevy could ask Merrimack to sign a Qualified Release Agreement, which would mean he would only need to complete one year in residence at a new institution, but many colleges have a policy of not agreeing to this practice.
According to Letter of Intent rules, other programs could only contact Plevy if Merrimack grants him a Qualified Release Agreement, or, if Merrimack grants permission for the school to speak to the player.
However, the LOI website also states that once a player is enrolled, he’s subject to NCAA rules regarding contact from other teams.
According to two junior hockey scouts, Plevy also lobbied to be released from his Letter of Intent earlier this summer, but ultimately decided to attend Merrimack. He was on Merrimack’s campus this summer, with the rest of the freshman class, working with strength and conditioning coach Mike Kamal, along with taking summer classes.
Mike McMahon covers Merrimack College for The Eagle Tribune and is the founder and managing editor of The Mack Report as well as on staff as a senior writer at College Hockey News. Follow him on Twitter @MikeMcMahonCHN